Who is involved?
“Are you astonished Aulus, that our friend Fabullinus is so frequently deceived? A good man has always something to learn in regard to fraud.”
—Marcus Aurelius

It can be a single person or a group of people who are involved in the political campaigning or in the storing and counting of the proxies and the ballots.

The candidates who are trying to get a position on the board may fake proxies. They could ask owners to sign bank proxies that the candidates will fill in the names later, once they have finished making political deals with other candidates. The signed proxies are traded like baseball cards.

The incumbents have the positions that are up for grabs so they want to win. It is natural for the incumbents to believe that they are the best qualified to sit on the board and their winning would be best for the corporation.

At other times they may want to win for personal pride, financial gain or to continue granting contracts and jobs to relatives, friends or to grateful contractors.

They may collect proxies from renters, treating these proxies as if they were from the owners, make promises to owners in return for proxies and make subtle threats those who do not give them their proxies.

A president in Scarborough promised the building superintendent a two-year contract if he would help the president collect proxies. It was obvious that if the superintendent declined, his job was at risk. The same president asked the property manager to do the same.

Property management

Property management companies may get involved in rigging elections, most of the time in favour of the incumbents and sometimes in favour of the challengers, depending on which side supports the management company.

Management may urge owners to vote for certain candidates, harass certain candidates when they try to canvas the other owners, "forget" to add their resumes in the information packages and refusing to give them a copy of the owner's registry.

A few management companies engage in much darker deeds than these.
A senior lives in a unit that is registered in her son's name and hands in a proxy. It is accepted if it helps the incumbents. If it helps the challengers, it is quietly declared void.
If a board-friendly owner is in arrears for more than 30 days, his proxy may be accepted.
Telling absentee owners to sign their name to their blank proxy and they will fill in the rest.
Collect the proxies from the commercial units and fill in the incumbents' names.
The management company, or the directors, use the owners' register to phone and/or e-mail all the owners requesting their proxies.
The superintendent's unit is owned by the corporation and the corporation is represented by the board so the board gives itself a ballot for the superintendent's unit.
If the management company and the board are afraid of losing their positions at a requisition meeting, they could schedule the owners meeting very early in a month. Then they "misplace" a few monthly condo fee or special assessment cheques so certain owners are over 30 days in arrears. Therefore they lost their right to vote.

Drop off your proxies
At a condo in Mississauga, the owners are encouraged to drop off their completed proxies at the management office. When the owners do so and the manager sees that the owners did not vote for the incumbents, she urges the owners to change their proxies.

The owners see this as a subtle threat and since they are afraid of future retaliation, many do so.

Proof of management election fraud
In September 2014, at a west-Toronto condo tower, an owner handed in a proxy to the management office that showed that he was voting, not for the incumbent, but for the challenger.

The challenging candidate was advised of this and so she asked one of the scrutineers to watch to see if the proxy for Unit # 1202 was included with the others.

It was not.

The superintendent, security guards and the cleaners are often drafted in the battle to assist the incumbents get re-elected to the board. Since they have built personal relationships with many of the owners, the employees can persuade many owners into giving them their proxies.

The security guards can be pressed into service to patrol the hallways to deliver campaign literature for the incumbents and remove the opposition's leaflets. They can also monitor the candidates' movements on the elevator video cameras and report on who they are talking to and what they are doing to the manager or the directors.

By watching the video cameras, the guards know what floors the candidates are dropping off flyers so they follow behind and pick up all the flyers that are left in the doors.

The chair

The chair of the meeting has a lot of power to influence an election. They pick the scrutineers who will count the ballots and accept or reject questionable proxies. The chair can use the position to limit debate and consistently rule in favour of the board.
(At times the board tells the chair who to choose as scrutinizers before the start of the meeting.)

Must vote for two candidates
There are two directors to be elected. The chair tells the owners that they must vote for two candidates. This is not true. The owners can vote for only one candidate if they wish but for no more than two.

This can be very important. If there is only one "reform" candidate running, then telling the owners that they must vote for two candidates, it means that the two incumbents receive votes from owners who want the reform candidate to win but by voting for two candidates, they weaken her standings. I'll show you what I mean:

In a situation where the voters know they can vote for one or two candidates, some will vote for only the one candidate that they want to be elected. They do not want to support either of the two incumbents.
Incumbent 1 100
Incumbent 2 90

An election where the voters think that they must vote for two candidates.
Incumbent 1 112
Incumbent 2 96
Challenger 92

In this case, the challenger loses because the two incumbents receives extra votes that the owners thought they had to cast.

top  contents  chapter  previous  next